Apr 15, 2021 · 7 min read
Local Rental Owners Collaborative Launches in South Los Angeles to Preserve Housing and Prevent Tenant Displacement
Cross-Sector Partnership Makes New Resources Available to Rental Owners Seeking Stability in the Wake of COVID-19
Today, the Los Angeles Local Rental Owners Collaborative (LROC) launched in South Los Angeles to support local, independent rental owners at risk of foreclosure or losing their assets to corporate buyers, and to help prevent the displacement of tenants who are struggling to pay rent. The pilot program, which offers qualifying owners comprehensive benefits like short-term rental relief grants combined with long-term financial consulting services, technology tools, and property management resources, was launched through a cross-sector collaboration between the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), Roy + Patricia Disney Family Foundation (RPDFF), Coalition for Responsible Community Development (CRCD), Avail (a part of realtor.com®), and Enterprise Community Partners.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout, many rental owners with smaller portfolios (2-20 units), especially immigrant and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) owners, are having difficulties maintaining their properties, a trend that can lead to greater displacement and gentrification in highly competitive markets like Los Angeles. Today, nearly 31 percent of independent landlords are being forced to consider selling their rentals to make up for lost revenue, which threatens the quantity and quality of housing that is affordable to Angelenos, the majority of whom are renters from communities of color.
“The LROC program will bring much-needed relief to rental owners of small apartment buildings and their tenants in South LA. This program will address the loss of rental income since March 2020 and provide the opportunity to preserve affordable housing in our community,” said Mark Wilson, President, CEO & Co-Founder of CRCD. “This work supports CRCD’s efforts over a decade, to use Community Economic Development principles to impact change in the neighborhood. We are proud to partner in this collaborative effort made possible by the initial pilot funders, CZI, and philanthropic partner, RPDFF.”
Local, independent landlords own 76 percent of all unsubsidized, below market housing units in Los Angeles County. In addition to short-term rental relief, the Collaborative also offers a strong network of support services, so rental owners can use their collective purchasing power to unlock efficiencies that institutional landlords already benefit from, like innovative technology tools and financial resources, and preserve their assets for working-class families.
“Our communities are at their best — and most vibrant — , when everyone has a safe, affordable place to call home,” said Priscilla Chan, Co-Founder of CZI. “That’s what this partnership is all about. Through a unique combination of financial resources, coalition-building, and support services, the LROC helps stabilize and improve housing for those who need it most — particularly within Black and Brown communities that have been hit hardest by the pandemic and by decades of exclusionary housing policies.”
“Small rental owners are integral to many communities and often provide housing at affordable rates for residents who would otherwise be priced out of areas like South Los Angeles,” said Shawn Escoffery, Executive Director of the RPDFF. “This program is the key to stabilizing the affordable housing market and ensuring that mom and pop landlords aren’t forced to sell their properties during these difficult times. We look forward to supporting the LROC and working alongside our partners on this important initiative.”
CRCD, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit dedicated to sustainable community development, is the primary administrator for the program and will manage the approval process for applicants, as well as outreach to the local community. National affordable housing nonprofit Enterprise Community Partners, which helped design the program, will oversee financial management of the LROC and work directly with CRCD on its implementation and evaluation. Avail, the LROC’s technology partner, will host the application and provide program participants with online tools to help streamline rental payments, maintenance requests from tenants, and more. The program was co-developed by CZI, a philanthropic organization that provided seed funding for the effort. The RPDFF is also a philanthropic partner for the LROC.
“The LROC is providing exactly what our communities are telling us they need: direct relief for the BIPOC renters and small landlords in South Los Angeles who were hit hardest by the pandemic,” said Jacqueline Waggoner, President of the Solutions Division at Enterprise Community Partners. “As a collaborative, we can keep Angelenos in their homes, preserve neighborhood stability, and work toward an equitable recovery from COVID-19. And with the support of generous funders like CZI and RPDFF, we can explore the possibility of expanding this pilot to communities nationwide.”
Applications to join the LROC open today for qualifying rental property owners within the 90011 zip code. For more information about the program, application process, and eligibility requirements, please visit Avail.co/lroc.
“The pandemic has revealed the need for broad-scale investments in infrastructure that helps our communities be more resilient and our response to economic crises more efficient and effective. Unfortunately millions of small business, DIY landlords, and tenants have been unaware of the relief available to them and how to access it. We are proud to be partnering with the best-in-class organizations on the LROC pilot, leveraging intuitive technology and community-building tools to address these issues in Los Angeles. We hope to take this experience and apply these solutions nationwide,” said Ryan Coon, Co-founder and CEO of Avail.
About the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was founded in 2015 to help solve some of society’s toughest challenges — from eradicating disease and improving education, to addressing the needs of our local communities. Our mission is to build a more inclusive, just, and healthy future for everyone. For more information, please visit chanzuckerberg.com.
About the Roy + Patricia Disney Family Foundation
The Roy and Patricia Disney Family Foundation is guided by social justice principles and believes that inequities can be dismantled through strategic and systems-level interventions. We strive to understand and invest in on-the-ground solutions driven by experts – individuals and advocacy groups living and working in the communities they serve. The Foundation elevates organizations and ideas that address pre-existing and reinforcing conditions that lead to inequities. These groups lead with policy and narrative change, power building, and amplify the voices of marginalized groups. The Foundation currently invests in Affordable Housing Preservation, Criminal Justice Reform, and Environmental Justice in South and East Los Angeles (CA), New Orleans (LA), and Tacoma (WA) through its grantmaking and impact investing initiatives.
About Enterprise Community Partners
Enterprise is a national nonprofit on a mission to make home and community places of pride, power and belonging for all. To make that possible, we operate the only organization designed to address America’s affordable housing crisis from every angle: we develop and deploy programs and support community organizations on the ground; we advocate for policy on a nonpartisan basis at every level of government; we invest capital to build and preserve rental homes people can afford; and we own, operate and provide resident services for affordable communities. All so that people not only make rent, they build futures. With this end-to-end approach, 40 years of experience and thousands of local partners, Enterprise has built and preserved 775,000 homes, invested $61 billion in communities and changed millions of lives. Join us at EnterpriseCommunity.org.
About the Coalition for Responsible Community Development
CRCD’s overall approach is neighborhood-based community development. The nonprofit organization has a long-term commitment to improving the quality of life in South Los Angeles, focusing on youth in the community and assisting them with education, opportunities to pursue career pathways, and meet basic needs. CRCD also addresses the longstanding neighborhood conditions where young people reside – such as poverty, unemployment, public safety issues, and the lack of affordable housing. Since its founding in 2005 by community members, CRCD has partnered in a combined investment of $125 million in South LA housing and real estate, including 370 units of permanent supportive and affordable housing, plus community space for support services, youth programs, a homeless youth drop-in center, a community garden, and commercial space for social enterprise. CRCD connected more than 3,000 young people with diplomas, jobs, and housing. www.coalitionrcd.org
Founded in 2012, Avail is the first and only online platform for independent landlords and tenants that provides the tools, education, and support to make renting easy. Landlords across the U.S. use Avail to advertise vacant units, request rental applications and credit reports, sign leases, and collect rent — all online. Avail is a division of Move Inc., the operator of realtor.com® – the company that pioneered the world of digital real estate more than 20 years ago. Learn more at avail.co.